As Brave as You by Jason Reynolds

In recent years, Jason Reynolds has established himself as a master of his craft, publishing award-winning YA and middle grade books. (I’ve previously written about Reynolds’s YA title The Boy in the Black Suit.) As Brave as You, one of Reynolds’s middle grade novels, won many 2016 accolades, including the Schneider Family Book Award and the CorettaContinue reading “As Brave as You by Jason Reynolds”

The Poet’s Dog by Patricia MacLachlan

In this slim, brisk novel by Patricia MacLachlan––author of Newbery-winning Sarah, Plain and Tall––the dog Teddy can understand human speech, but only children and poets can understand him. Teddy rescues siblings Nickel and Flora from a snowstorm and brings them to the forest cabin he once shared with his owner, Sylvan. As the mystery of Sylvan’sContinue reading “The Poet’s Dog by Patricia MacLachlan”

American Street by Ibi Zoboi

The comparison titles alone made me thrilled to finally read this book: “For fans of Everything, Everything, Bone Gap, and All-American Boys.” And American Street lived up to its comps, telling the gorgeous and gut-wrenching story of Fabiola Toussaint, a Haitian immigrant adapting to life in Detroit on the corner of Joy Road and American Street. When Fabiola andContinue reading “American Street by Ibi Zoboi”

Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older

I promise I’m not just reviewing Shadowshaper because of how pretty the cover is going to look on my homepage. …Well, okay, that’s a big plus! But the cover’s not the only gorgeous thing about this book. There is so much for kidlit writers to learn from Daniel José Older’s YA novel Shadowshaper. [Note: mild spoilers ahead!] 1. Work hardContinue reading “Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older”

Seven Books to Get and Gift in a Post-Election World

As we process and prod the results November’s US election, we begin to search for a way forward. What can we do now? How can we work for change? We need a plan of action in an uncertain world. Trump’s campaign fueled division and fear. He told Americans: immigrants are dangerous. People who pray aContinue reading “Seven Books to Get and Gift in a Post-Election World”

Enter Title Here by Rahul Kanakia

Reshma Kapoor is your new favorite anti-hero. An almost-straight-A student at an elite Silicon Valley high school, she’s vying for the top rank in her senior class and an early-action spot at Stanford. The book opens with a literary agent contacting Reshma about an article she published in The Huffington Post. The agent asks if she’d be interested in writing aContinue reading “Enter Title Here by Rahul Kanakia”

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

This book is not new, nor am I the first to talk about how wonderful it is. One Crazy Summer was well-received when it was published in 2010, winning plenty of deserved accolades––look at all those lovely stickers!––including the Coretta Scott King Award. I finally got to dive into this middle grade novel a couple weeks ago. And there’s noContinue reading “One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia”

George by Alex Gino

Alex Gino’s George won the Stonewall Book Award and has often been cited as a book that’s redefined what middle grade can be. George is earnest and heartwarming and one of the best middle grade books I’ve read this year. And for a groundbreaking novel, it’s also got a lovely, classic, modern-yet-familiar feel. Note: I’m totally late to the party!Continue reading “George by Alex Gino”

Special Post: What Writers Can Learn from…The Olympics!

I LOVE SPORTS! Okay, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, I should preface this blog with a couple things… One: this is the first post on this blog that’s not about a book. Two: I had fun writing this and am thinking I might write more non-book-centric writing advice posts in the future. And three:Continue reading “Special Post: What Writers Can Learn from…The Olympics!”

Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed

I read this book a while ago, but the story really stuck with me. With Naila and her goals and passion and determination still hanging around in my head, persistent and present, I knew I needed to write a blog post about Aisha Saeed’s Written in the Stars. Here are three things writers can learn from Saeed’s heart-wrenching––butContinue reading “Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed”